A mix-up on a Dell ( DELL) Web site created the false impression the company was selling Opteron server chips from Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), a Dell spokesperson acknowledged Wednesday. As recently as February, Dell president and soon-to-be CEO Kevin Rollins again
affirmed the company's commitment to server chips from Intel ( INTC). So it would be big news if the Round Rock, Texas-based hardware giant began offering silicon from AMD. Dell is the only one of the top four boxmakers not to sell servers powered by Opteron, despite increasing customer interest in the capabilities of the chip. But on Wednesday, an Opteron processor kit that was intended to be offered for sale to a single customer was inadvertently posted to a public Dell Web page. Rendering the situation still more confusing, ThinkEquity analyst Charlie Glavin issued a note Wednesday afternoon saying he had bought an Opteron processor from Dell. Glavin wrote that when he contacted Dell, "the company confirmed that this is a test market for two processor upgrade kits targeted at integrators." (He was not available for additional comment.) "We're not making any changes to current strategy," said Dell spokesperson Bruce Anderson, referring to the PC maker's status as an Intel-only shop. In a follow-up email, he confirmed: "We have no test program" involving Opteron chips. Dell does give corporate customers access to secured Web sites where they may buy goods from both Dell and other companies, Anderson explained. The goal is to keep them at the Dell Web site and simplify their purchasing behavior. Though Dell has declined to publicly sell Opteron processors, IBM ( IBM), Sun ( SUNW) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) all have pledged to offer Opteron-powered servers over the past year. Possibly bowing to pressure from Dell (as well as other customers), Intel in February said it would roll out silicon with capabilities modeled on those of AMD -- a humbling event for Intel, which usually sets the standard in chips. It's unclear whether any Opteron confusion was a contributor, but Dell shares fell 16 cents, or 0.5%, to $33.01 Wednesday while AMD stock rose 68 cents, or 4.6%, to $15.54. Intel rose 37 cents, or 1.4%, to $26.53.